1989 was a good year—Harry met Sally, a wall fell, the Simpson’s invaded, and two college friends decided it was time to bring better beer to San Diego. Chris and Matt, along with help from world renowned Master Brewer Karl Strauss, realized their dream and opened San Diego’s first craft brewery since Prohibition on February 2, 1989. Today, Karl Strauss Brewing Company is celebrating 20 years of craft brewing in San Diego. And the excitement is just beginning. They have recently completed their brewery expansion and new bottling line and will be releasing new packaging, a new beer, and celebrating this milestone throughout the year.
Karl Strauss’ main brewery has been stationed in Pacific Beach for 13 years now and when it came time to expand, they didn’t want to part from their converted greenhouse. Instead, they opted to find a way to make the existing foot print work. The result is an impressive use of space—their new bottling line operates on two floors, and the brewery expansion equipment was completely rearranged to make room for 5 new 240 barrel fermenters and 2 new 120 barrel bright tanks. After adding a new energy efficient glycol chiller, boiler, lighting and an automated brewing monitoring system, the expansion was complete and the brewery is now capable of producing 60,000 barrels annually.
Coming off the new bottling line will be all new packaging, featuring handcrafted, sterile filtered beer. The new packaging includes hand sketched imagery in darker, muted colors, printed on natural craft paper with a look that is more in line with the company’s culture and attitude. While they kept their iconic Red Trolley and Woodie Car, they also added a new brand to the mix—Tower 10 IPA.
Coming from a city known for hops, Karl Strauss thought it was time to release an American style IPA done their way. Tower 10 IPA features a blend of classic Centennial, Cascade, and Chinook hops for a bright, citrussy hoppiness. Coming in at 60 IBUS and just over 6.5%ABV, this beer is meant for those who appreciate hops. Named after lifeguard Tower 10 in Mission Beach where Chris and Matt first hatched their plans for Karl Strauss Brewing Company, it seemed fitting to name a beer coming out this year after the spot where it all began. Tower 10 IPA will be available on draft and in 12 oz bottles during the first quarter of 2009.
To celebrate their 20th Anniversary, Karl Strauss will be hosting a series of beer dinners throughout 2009 as well as releasing their 20th Anniversary beer—a Munich Dunkel—on tap mid-February. You can try their limited release 20th Anniversary Bourbon-Aged Trippel on cask at any one of their six brewery restaurants on February 5th until it runs out. The company will also be toasting their 20th at their annual beer and music festivals, Beach to Brewery and Karlfest. All proceeds will benefit the Surfrider Foundation and the Karl Strauss Brewer’s Education Fund.